Apple’s extreme secrecy retarding its artificial intelligence work

“In the world of artificial intelligence, one of the year’s biggest coming-out parties is the Neural Information Processing Systems conference. Thousands of researchers from universities and software companies gather to share their work and wrestle with new ways to tailor software to people’s habits,” Jack Clark writes for Bloomberg Businessweek. ” At last year’s conference in Montreal, employees of Google, Microsoft, and IBM presented papers on teaching computers to work faster and smarter, such as by reading the house numbers in a photo to determine an address. But one player was conspicuously absent: Apple. This year, Chinese search giant Baidu and Facebook, along with Google and Microsoft, are slated to present papers. Apple isn’t.”

“Apple researchers attended the Montreal conference last year but kept a low profile and didn’t say who they worked for unless asked, says Yoshua Bengio, an AI pioneer and professor of computer science at the University of Montreal,” Clark writes. “This is typical of the company’s appearances at the field’s big AI conferences, say Bengio and other prominent researchers. ‘Apple is off the scale in terms of secrecy,’ says Richard Zemel, a professor in the computer science department at the University of Toronto. ‘They’re completely out of the loop.'”

“Other big consumer-software companies have set up research centers staffed with dozens or hundreds of AI experts from around the world, racing to publish findings,” Clark writes. “For years, the fortunes of the world’s most valuable company have been associated with its opacity. But its biggest AI success to date has been buying Siri from a startup in 2010. Apple Maps still lags the predictive capabilities of similar software. ‘There’s no way they can just observe and not be part of the community and take advantage of what is going on,’ Bengio says. ‘I believe if they don’t change their attitude, they will stay behind.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Sounds like somebody really wants to know what Apple’s working on.

Perhaps Apple penchant for secrecy is because they are damned sick and tired of being ripped off? Apple has been the wellspring for IP infringers the world over for over nearly 40 years now. Enough!


    1. Not retarded nor out of the loop. Since they attend they are in the loop and benefit from other ideas. If you have the numbers 1234 and I have the numbers 5678 and we come together with you sharing 1234, I now have 12345678 and you still only have 1234. Therefore, you are the one being retarded. Not saying this is right, but just saying that it’s logically incorrect to say that Apple is the one out of the loop and retarded.

  1. Yes, Apple will stay behind, like they dis with the secrecy of the iPhone, the iPad, the Mac Pro, the MacBook Air, the iMac 5k, the retina disposición, Siri, …. Oh Wait, Apple was well ahead on all that, (even for Siri, they saw a future for tha and brought it).
    Sound like jack clear just recently came out from a WWII bunker and he is trying (and failing) to get up to date with news.

  2. Hey Richard, the reason Apple is “off the scale” in terms of secrecy is because everyone steals their designs and concepts with zero repercussions.

  3. Sure, that’s his opinion. However, I fail to see how Apple’s secrecy has prevented them from advancing AI in ways that benefit tons of people. I mean, Baidu’s great and all, but it hasn’t really improved my life.

  4. Secrecy has SO obviously crippled Apple’s efforts with the iMac, the original iPod, the iPhone, the Air that killed the netbook industry, the iPad, the watch, their chip work. Secrecy is sooooooo bad.

  5. Did anyone above me read this? They don’t suggest apples private culture is hurting their hardware at all. It’s directly aimed at software and as someone who has used both sides of the argument, he’s right. Google maps still kicks apple maps any day and siri is a purchase not some apple developed gift from the sky. Sur they are working it n but they didn’t start it, they bought it.

    1. Same point about software:
      – Mac OS, ripped off by Microscum.
      – Linux interface then based on Winblows.
      – iOS, which Google totally ripped off and which nearly all the rest of the mobile industry runs on.
      – Watch OS… WAY beyond other wannabes
      – The software integration between different hardware.

      Apple leads. The rest follow, with occasional small details of actual innovation.

  6. The real reason Apple is keeping this a secret is because successful implementation of A.I. at Apple’s level of programming will eliminate nearly all jobs in Washington, D.C.

  7. Not to geek our or focus on paranoia, but to advocate conscious decision making, any discussion of AI, should include a message of responsibility.

    Creating a life form that could outmaneuver you, is a serious concern. Maybe, just maybe, Apple is being very conservative in this area, whereas Google may have no clue how to proceed. It’s not a mater of “can,” it’s a mater of, “should.”

    Why did we go to the moon? Because if we didn’t, someone else would. The problem is, we develop GMOs, we develop weapons, we develop space technology, and we develop AI, for the sake that – if we don’t do it, we will be left behind in the dust.

    If we don’t join the Borg collective, yada yada yada. We are at a tipping point on so many levels, we have to be very careful and respectful of things to come, whether biology or technology.

    I like what’s seen in Buck Rogers or Star Trek. AI is either equal or subservient, but not abused.

  8. For better (probably) or worse, AI is very primitive at this point, despite all the hypeHypeHYPE! (Hello Ray. Kurzweil). What we see described in the article is behavior mimicry. Is mimicry intelligence? We humans tend not to think so.

    There is lots things and events to be paranoid about the future. But so far, sci fi and fantasy aside, AI isn’t one of them.

    Therefore, I’m not exactly impressed with the FUD notion of:
    ‘I believe if they don’t change their attitude, they will stay behind.’

    Behind WHAT exactly? We’re still waiting for real ‘intelligence’ programming, if indeed that’s even possible with today’s awful programming languages. (I use the word ‘awful’ because of the constant tsunami of bad memory management and other security flaws throughout the field of software programming. Using a biological metaphor, we’re not even at the Paramecium stage, IMHO).

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